Gbenga Adesina, Romeo Oriogun, & Kemi Alabi to Perform at New York Online Event

The conversation, moderated by fellow Nigerian poet Omotara James, is organized by the City Artists Corps Grant and the New York Foundation for the Arts.
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Romeo Oriogun by Romeo Oriogun.

Romeo Oriogun by Romeo Oriogun.

On October 28, 2021, the City Artists Corps Grant and the New York Foundation for the Arts will host a free-to-attend poetry conversation with five spectacular Black poets, four of whom are Nigerian. They are Gbenga Adesina, Kemi Alabi, Romeo Oriogun, Candace Williams, and the moderator Omotara James. Williams is American.

The theme is “Conjuring the Sacred: Poets of the Diaspora.”  

Here is a description from the organizers:

Join us for a free virtual celebration of Black poets, living and writing in the diaspora. This magical lineup includes: Gbenga Adesina, Kemi Alabi, Romeo Oriogun and Candace Williams.

These four contemporary scholars, storytellers and archivists, whose work expands the cannon, will perform poems and offer their favourite poetry prompts to the audience.

The program will be moderated by Omotara James and is brought to you by City Artists Corps Grant & NYFA.

The Poets

Gbenga Adesina is the author of Painter of Water, a haunting meditation on intimacy in the face of war and historical violence selected by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani for the New Generation African Poets series. His work centers intimacy as a form of inquiry, and the sea as archive and brutal border around which orbits the questions of empire, migration, and exile. He was a Goldwater Fellow at NYU where he received his MFA, and was mentored by Yusef Komunyakaa. He was the 2020 Olive B. O’Connor Fellow at Colgate University, where he taught a poetry class called “Song of the Human.” His work has been published in Prairie Schooner, Harvard Review, Academy of American Poets’ Poem-A-Day, and The New York Times. He is the winner of the 2020 Narrative Prize.

Kemi Alabi by Ally Almore.
Kemi Alabi by Ally Almore.

Kemi Alabi is the author of Against Heaven (Graywolf Press, 2022), selected by Claudia Rankine as winner of the Academy American Poets First Book Award. Their work appears in Poetry, The Atlantic, Best New Poets 2019, The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2, and elsewhere. They are co-editor of The Echoing Ida Collection (Feminist Press, 2021) and live in Chicago.

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Romeo Oriogun is the author of Sacrament of Bodies, a finalist for the Lambda Award for Poetry. His poetry recently appeared in The New Yorker. He is an Innovation Fellow at Iowa State University.

Candace Williams is the author of Spells for Black Wizards, a 2017 TAR Chapbook Series winner, published by The Atlas Review. Their first full-length poetry manuscript, The Dark Diary (formerly futureblack), was a 2018 National Poetry Series finalist and is forthcoming from Grieveland. They have an MA in Elementary Education from Stanford University, a Brooklyn Poets Fellowship, Pushcart nominations, and workshop scholarships from Cave Canem and the Fine Arts Work Center. They were a 2017 Create Change Fellow at the Laundromat Project.

Omotara James is a multidisciplinary artist, poet, and editor, based out of New York City. Her debut poetry collection, Song of My Softening, is slated for release in 2022, with Alice James Books.

Event Details

Date: Fri, October 29, 2021

Time: 12:00 AM – 1:30 AM WAT

Register HERE.

It is a free event but attendees must register first.

Emmanuel Esomnofu
Emmanuel Esomnofu is a staff writer at Open Country Mag. He is a culture journalist and has written extensively on Nigerian music and on several moving parts of popular culture. His writing appears online in Native Mag, Okay Africa, Kalahari Review, Praxis Magazine, and elsewhere. He was published in print in The Muse, the oldest student journal in West Africa. In December 2020, he worked on "Fuji: A Opera" as a copywriter, creating informative and exciting stories from Fuji's rich history.

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